Meet the team: Our Preston news reporter James Holt

Hi, I am James Holt, a news reporter at the Lancashire Post primarily focusing on Preston city centre and its surrounding areas. Here's a little bit about me.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 12:30 pm
Me working from my home office

Curling up on the sofa watching the 10 o'clock news may not have been every teenager's idea of a cool night, but it was for me.

In fact, through school and college, expressing myself through writing and being able to tell different stories, both real and fantasy was something I had such a huge passion for - and still do today.

I will never forget my English language lessons in college, just after my lunch break, that largely involved me slumped in the corner of the classroom, cosy beside a warm radiator in a food coma but still eager to learn and determined to get pen to paper.

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That is where my love for storytelling was truly birthed and I knew that I wanted to be a journalist. I knew I wanted to inform communities about local issues and be able to stand in as a voice for those who didn't have the platform to use it.

My mornings typically start at around 7am, sat in my lounge with my hands wrapped round a cup of coffee and laptop on my knees reading through the trending news for the day.

I tend to look at national issues, albeit usually Covid related at the moment, at see how they may impact the people of Preston.

These range from the ever-changing rules around restrictions and businesses being able to function in some capacity of normality to how the virus has affected people being able to visit their loved ones, particularly those in care homes who are considered vulnerable.

Building relationships with the people of Preston has been important for me to get a glimpse into the issues impacting them and how I can use this platform to broadcast that. A trip down to the market now wouldn’t be the same without a friendly wave from Livesy’s butchers or a smile from Fresh n’ Fruity.

Once I have sourced stories that I think are particularly relevant and newsworthy, I gather my research and begin contacting people through social media or by phone.

Many of my recent published posts have been heavily human-interest focused, telling stories both heartbreaking and uplifting about the people of Preston.

That is what our readers want, including people from our towns, villages, workplaces and schools.

It isn’t to be forgotten however that both myself and my colleagues didn’t get here overnight - after achieving A grades at my A-level Englishes, I went on to study for a degree broadcast journalism at the University of Salford and achieved a first-class honours, further developing my passion for news writing, uncovering local stories that matter to local people and producing them in both broadcast and print formats.

Alongside this, we work tirelessly to stay on top of media law and the IPSO regulations that we strictly abide by whilst having all gained (or on our way to) an NCTJ diploma in journalism which covers vitally important topics such as how us reporters stay on the right side of the law.

Now, I have been appointed full time as a news reporter, focusing mainly on Preston city centre and neighbouring areas such as Ashton and Plungington and honestly, it is a dream come true for me.

Many of my stories have been front-page because they truly matter to our readers. It's important, human interest stories that include people from our towns and villages, or schools or workplaces.

I was apprehensive walking into this job as a newbie - I am not as experienced as some of the seasoned journalists at the Lancashire Post and have not had the chance to really polish off my craft in the same way that others have, but I am well on my way to getting there.

I am not naive to the fact that some people don't like us journalists and recognise that many may bung us reporters into one basket of bloodthirsty moralless writers, but it couldn't be further from the truth. I am born in Lancashire and am passionate about telling stories from our amazing borough, towns and cities.

I often get stories coming directly to me, whether that be somebody who has just opened a new business despite the lockdown and wants to spread the buzz, or someone overcoming two decades of drug addiction and is using this platform to encourage others to seek support, especially at a time when depression is sky-high.

This job, although a dream, can be frustrating at times. I spend endless hours chasing up a story that I know our readers want, only to not hear back from a potential interviewee or have the circumstances of the story change at the last minute.

Working from home has certainly been a blessing and a curse in that regard; people were much easier to get hold of when we were all sat in our pyjamas isolating at home but that novelty soon wore thin.

I also have a passion for radio, am excited to start working on podcasts, some of which may be featured on the Lancashire Post website and am a musician in my spare time, you can find out about that hereMyself and my colleagues here at the Post need people to continue buying our newspaper and subscribing to our online site for more reliable and local content.

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Contact me with any feedback or story suggestions at [email protected] Follow my twitter account @jameshjourno.

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